By Jessica Lizza
Online dating is becoming an increasingly popular form of finding a significant other. Perhaps it is because people are moving to new places for jobs, or maybe I am just at a point in my life when I am noticing more friends turning to online dating to meet people. Regardless of the reason, online dating comes with as many dangers as it does benefits. This random person you met online could be completely compatible with you, or he could just seem completely compatible, and when you get to your date, things could go very wrong. What happens if you find yourself feeling uncomfortable with no way to get out of the situation? What if you broke the online dating rule and drove to your destination together? What if they put something in your drink?
These are all very important questions you need to think about when you decide to try online dating. What if to help combat all of these things, you have someone watching over – a person to act as a safety net in a bad situation, and a smiling face when things go great? This is why I think in the world we live in now, women should not go on blind dates alone; they should call on a friend to be their #datecrasher.
It was late Thursday night and I was sitting outside at my apartment complex pool when my brother appeared holding what seemed to be my phone. In a (clearly failed) attempt to avoid the real world for a few hours, I had left my phone sitting in my living room. Louie, my aforementioned brother, brought it over and said it was an emergency from my best friend. So in a moment of panic I grabbed the phone, frantic to get to the bottom of her emergency. Turns out she was not having a life crisis; rather, she was on her way to a blind date with a man she had met on Match.com. Now, me being the busybody that I am, held back my creep behavior for a grand total of two minutes into our conversation before insisting that I go wherever she goes to keep an eye on things. Not surprisingly, that was the entire reason she called. So it began – I grabbed a friend and we made our way to Old Town, Scottsdale. Finally, after stopping at three different bars, misplacing my ID and stumbling through the dark to find a parking spot, we finally found my friend and her date – we’ll call them Michele and Dave.
This entire situation however, had inspired me to start thinking about why (besides wanting to know everything about everyone) I was there in the first place. Dating is one of the hardest things we can do as young people. There is so much body shaming and judging going on, some people are lucky if they even have the confidence to leave their house. So, why would someone put a lot of work into looking nice and go out to a bar only to be rejected?
In a time when it is not only hard to find a nice guy with the same values, women also have to be fully aware of their surroundings. Yes, you might have met this guy on Match.com and yes, he might have seemed normal in conversation. But you can be anything you want through a screen and a dating profile. My subject Michele was fully aware of these things Thursday night, and I think her request of my espionage was entirely reasonable. I believe this odd form of buddy system can ensure safety while also providing a friendly face in an unknown situation. Multiple times Thursday night she glanced toward me for approval and I would honestly felt like security. Michele knew I was there; if the date went wrong I could pretend to “run into her,” and if it went right, I was stuck awkwardly in a bar all night eating chicken and listening to people scream about the Broncos.
In my personal opinion, her date should not have picked Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row as the site of their first date. I think this is partly because I do not like bars, or loud music, or large groups of people so perhaps that is just my bias coming through. I also believe that when two people are trying to get to know each other, you do NOT need someone screaming in your ear and exploding confetti falling in your beer.
Aside from poor date location, I was thrilled to report that he seemed normal, attentive, polite and not too forward. I did not see his gaze shift from her once despite the bar being full of girls – apparently because Thursday means three-dollar Skyy vodka drinks for ladies.
While I was watching all these good things happening with an obnoxious grin on my face, I soon realized that with espionage comes the possibility of being recognized by the target. I have a real fear that he noticed me staring at him with an incredibly over the top smile (that I was not aware of until my friend told me) or that the reason he would even recognize me in the first place is because he follows her Instagram. Michele was not worried about this, however I felt like a super weirdo, even though I was just looking out for my friend.
I think the point of my message here is that women need to stand with each other and create lasting bonds that relationships cannot break or get in the way of. Friendships are sometimes what keep you sane in a relationship, and they will always be there when your life is good and when things are going bad. Online dating sites definitely bring couples together, but they can also lead to dangerous situations and awkward dates. Be a good friend, turn off your Netflix on a Thursday night, get in your car and drive into crowded and loud Old Town, Scottsdale to keep an eye out for your best friend’s safety. Be a #datecrasher.